Et voila! Le long awaited second part to my Best Songs of 2015 So far!
40) Hozier – Someone New
How do you follow up a super hit like “Take Me to Church”? Most people would pull out all the stops with a big eye-catching spectacle of a single. Not Hozier. “Someone New” shows him at his most sensitive and subtle. There is nothing big or bold about this single, just the same nuanced beautiful songwriting and spellbinding, commanding vocals. No complaints here.
39) Meghan Trainor – Lips Are Moving
After “All About that Bass” Trainor’s career could have sunk like a stone. The single was so overwhelmingly popular and borderline novelty that it was always going to be a mammoth challenge to follow it up. It really could have all ended there. But Trainor was sneaky and, by basically recreating “Bass” for her second single and electing to release it in January (a traditionally slow time for music) she managed to both bag herself a higher chart position. At the same time she also managed to provide ready consumable fodder for the public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for her calypso style doo wop stylings without taking any risks which could have potentially alienated her pre-existing audience. Still, “Lips Are Moving” is terrifically fun and chock full of personality and it seems that mouthy old Madame Trainor’s lips will be moving for a long time to come.
38) Meghan Trainor – Dear Future Husband
Oh it’s her again! Yes Meghan added another smash to her belt earlier with this sassy and brassy jam. The feisty track proved actually that Trainor has outgrown her first smash “All About that Bass” and has completed her ascendance to the position of one of pop’s current it-girls. She’s not just bringing booty back. She’s also putting men in their place all over the shop and, at least for now, no one seems to mind all that much. And when the music’s this good, who cares?
37) Maroon 5 – Sugar
Does anyone else remember that time when Maroon 5 were literally pretty much kaput? Well, take a good hard look at them now why don’t you. This just proves that Mick Jagger’s moves really can work magic. They all but brought this group back from the dead. Recent release “Sugar” continues the group’s winning streak, becoming the biggest hit off their current album V. The song also shows frontman Adam Levine using his ability to communicate with bats through sounds so sonically high pitched that they are almost inaudible for human ears.
36) Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You
I was so pleased when I heard that Carly Rae Jepsen was coming back. I always had faith that she was more than just “Call Me Maybe” and finally my patience paid off. “I Really Like You” shows Jepsen at the top of her game. She never claimed to be a master lyricist or to produce deep and meaningful songs, she is quite simply put, a fun popstar like in the good old days of Britney cerca 2000. When it comes to sophomore albums, the artist’s whole future hangs in the balance. If not done right, they may never sell a record again (Duffy…) or at the very least just fade into obscurity. With a hit like “I Really Like You” under her belt, Carly stands a good chance of not falling into that sad, depressing category.
35) Britney Spears Feat. Iggy Azalea – Pretty Girls
People have been throwing shade all over this song. Even writers Little Mix appeared on radio saying that they didn’t think the track was good enough for their new album and so they scrapped it, only for Britney to pick it up later. Contrary to popular option, I think that any Britney comeback single “Pretty Girls” is a cause for celebration, especially because it’s just the type of track that Britney should be doing: a fun, bubbly track full of personality and catchy hooks. Also, more to the point, I don’t know how many more flop singles Britney can take before she shaves her head again and I don’t want to find out…
I have to admit that this parody is pretty funny:
34) Marlon Roudette – When the Beat Drops Out
Marlon Roudette has produced more than just another run of the mill throwaway dance hit with “When the Beat Drops Out”. First of all, the use of the steel drum is genius as it immediately transports the listener to a tropical Jamaican island (with air con) and the absolute ruthless effectiveness of the hook “Bassline I will always make time” is undeniable. If, like me, you are incapable of getting it out of your head, the only thing I can suggest is a full lobotomy.
33) Ed Sheeran & Rudimental – Bloodstream (Remix)
“Bloodstream” was never actually one of my favourites off X. I never really got into it for some reason and I was actually a bit pissed off when I heard that it was going to be a single before “Photograph”. But Rudimental’s single remix was a complete game changer for me. It brought the song to life and even made me like the original more. However, I do believe the remix is superior as it builds and builds like a quiet storm ranging under the surface which reflects the emotions that Ed is trying to get across with this song. It’s smart moves like this that have led to his being the biggest male singer in the world right now.
32) Jason Derulo – Want to Want Me
Derulo is actually racking up quite the stash of chart smashes. Who could have predicted that he would actually still be around so long after his debut? But as long as he remains this inventive it seems he is going nowhere. “Want You to Want Me” enjoyed a month’s reign as the highest selling single in the UK, no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination. As one of the premier pulsating, throbbing synth pop jams of 2015, “Want You to Want Me” is every bit what pop should sound like in 2015 and Derulo’s ball shattering falsetto is always welcome.
31) Karen Harding – Say Something
This one was pretty out of left field I must say. Who would have expected a track this current and fresh sounding from a girl who once auditioned for the X Factor but was eliminated at the Boot Camp stage. She didn’t even make it to the final 12! Neither did she manage to represent the UK in Eurovision when she had a pop at that. How she managed to go from that to having a top ten UK debut single is beyond me. It’s probably best that she didn’t get through to the X Factor auditions, “Say Something” is about as anti-Simon Cowell as you can get which probably has something to do with the fact that it was produced by MNEK, one of the go-to producers of the moment (he was behind Gorgon City’s smash last year “Ready for Your Love”). “Say Something” is unashamedly 90’s and features a killer bassline that just begs to be turned up loud. It’s also pretty good to hear that a fellow northerner is kicking some ass in the UK. Hailing from Consett, County Durham, she is about as northern as it gets. Respect!
30) David Guetta Feat. Afrojack, Nicki Minaj and Bebe Rexha – Hey Mama
A mammoth collaboration between two DJ heavyweights, the leading lady of rap and an up and coming star in the making. It’s a powerful and, most importantly, interesting track. Everyone is on top form here and the combo of Guetta’s pop sensibilities and Afrojack’s harder sound makes for a truly exhilarating collab.
29) Florence and the Machine – Ship to Wreck
It’s been way too long since we had a new Florence album. I literally adored her first two LPs and expectations were high for her to make it a trio of successes. When she did drop How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful at first I was a little underwhelmed but the album has slowly grown and grown on me since I bought it. It is true what the critics say, Florence’s new sound does have a whiff of Americanisation which has stifled some of her creative prowess, but luckily for us it takes a bit more than some crashing drums to dampen that effervescent personality. “Ship to Wreck” is my personal favourite from the album as it shows Florence at her wildest and most waily. I’m a fan of the wailing. To WREEEEEEEEEEEEECK!
28) Charli XCX Feat. Rita Ora – Doing It
After bratty, fun-loving Charli XCX’s second single “Break the Rules” only scraped into the top 35 and failed to replicate the success of “Boom Clap” I was quite worried as to her music industry future, but one listen to “Doing It” and my fears melted away. “Doing It” is a loud and proud pure pop confection which is aimed squarely at the jugular of the singles chart. It’s infinitely playable and catchy as a cold. Of course, Rita Ora’s feature adds nothing here but starpower. Either way I mostly just listen to the original Rita-less album version anyway.
27) Morland and Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me
Norwegian singer Morland’s choice to enter “A Monster Like Me” for Eurovision 2015 troubles me. In some ways I really wish he hadn’t entered it because the song is clearly of a different ilk to the usual Eurovision fare. Dare I say, it’s a lot better quality than most Eurovision entries. The pesky 3 minute length rule for all Eurovision songs has clearly sold “A Monster Like Me” short as well. The track could do with another minute or so as it is so sparse and brooding that it needs the extra time to breathe and build to a crescendo. Nevertheless, they have done a good job in creating as much atmosphere and tension as is possible to fit into 3 minutes and the harmonies are hauntingly beautiful. However, I always feel like I want a bit more after it finishes. The fact that it only finished 8th in the competition is quite insulting as well. Embarrassing for both Eurovision and for the singers. However, on the flipside, if it hadn’t been entered into Eurovision, we would have probably never heard it. Quite the dilemma that one…
26) Martin Garrix Feat. Usher – Don’t Look Down
Not a massive Usher fan but Garrix really managed to get the best out of him with this track. His voice is perfectly suited to this type of euphoric track and it just makes me wonder why he doesn’t do songs like this all the time. Garrix has been unstoppable recently and “Don’t Look Down” the cream of the crop. It’s a pure festival tune which is destined to be chanted by thousands of sweaty 20-something year olds all summer.
25) Adam Lambert – Ghost Town
I had all but given up on Adam Lambert after his so-so sophomore effort Trespassing but boy was I proved wrong. “Ghost Town” is a powerful statement. A triumphal return for a quality popstar. The fulfilment of so much potential that was going to waste on mediocre material, which is a beautiful thing. Adam on “Ghost Town” is just pure fabulousness and it warms the heart to know that he has finally found a way to channel his diva-ish tendencies into creating quality 90’s inspired witch house anthems.
24) DJ Snake Feat. AlunaGeorge – You Know You Like It
DJ Snake is everywhere at the minute. And this reworking of AlunaGeorge’s original single is among some of his best work. On “You Know You Like It” Snake transforms the original into a dance floor filler which has sent it surging up into the US top 20. The whole affair is just pure chart euphoria all round and who could resist when those ethereal, child-like vocals morph into squelchy, androgynous stuttering to make a truly irresistible chorus.
23) Marina & the Diamonds – I’m a Ruin
“I’m a Ruin” is such a pleasant surprise from Marina and the Diamonds. I didn’t believe that she had this much depth if I’m honest but “I’m a Ruin” somehow manages to be truly heart-breaking in a way that lots of pop songs just aren’t capable of. On the track Marina shows her vulnerability and she is honest to a fault, which is something that very few popstars actually are nowadays. It’s clear that she gives us everything on “I’m a Ruin” and, in doing so, she create something truly special that deserves to be lauded as one of the best ballads in recent times. A triumph for mid-tempo pop.
22) Blonde Feat. Melissa Steel – I Loved You
The arrival of “I Loved You” introduced us to a brand new dance production group Blonde who have now turned into one of Britain’s foremost talents. The rushing, surging backing drum beat on “I Loved You” gives a sense of urgency and Melissa Steel’s impassioned vocals blend the whole production together. Club ready and epic.
21) Iggy Azalea Feat. Jennifer Hudson – Trouble
Jennifer Hudson is US Billboard chart poison. Everything she does lately just bombs, even when she is coupled with one of raps biggest stars at the minute. “Trouble” managed to go top ten in Australia, UK and many other markets, but it barely made an impact in the US. Is there something we’re missing? Even if it had come out that she was a massive bitch (highly unlikely), WHO CARES? Chris Brown still sells shedloads despite his “Rihanna incident” (the less we speak about that the better), so I just don’t get it why JHud can’t seem to bag a US hit. “Trouble” is witty, catchy and as inventive as you like. It sounds like nothing else on the radio at the minute with its retro vibe and plonkety piano line. The video itself was great too. You really just can’t win with some people. Nevermind, the rest of the world will keep it all to themselves.
Thank you for ready and feel free to leave any comments or suggestions